U.S. SEC Chair wants to rein in crypto 'Wild West'

The chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday called on Congress to give his agency more authority to better police cryptocurrency trading, lending and platforms - describing it as the "Wild West," riddled with fraud and investor risk…

Gary Gensler said the crypto market involves many tokens which may be unregistered securities and leaves prices open to manipulation and millions of investors vulnerable to risks.

He told a global conference (quote) "We need additional Congressional authorities to prevent transactions, products and platforms from falling between regulatory cracks."

Cryptocurrencies reached a record capitalization of $2 trillion in April as more investors stocked their portfolios with digital tokens - but oversight of the market remains patchy.

The industry has been waiting with bated breath to see how Gensler, a Democratic appointee who took the SEC helm in April, will approach oversight of the market, which he has previously said should be brought within traditional financial regulation.

On Tuesday, Gensler provided more insight on his thinking, saying he would like Congress to give the SEC the power to oversee cryptocurrency exchanges, which are not currently within the SEC's authority.

He also called on lawmakers to give the SEC more power to oversee crypto lending, and platforms like peer-to-peer decentralized finance (DeFi) sites that allow lenders and borrowers to transact in cryptocurrencies without traditional banks.

Gensler added (quote) "If we don't address these issues, I worry a lot of people will be hurt."